Michelin star chef Mark Abbott was in Belfast last week to recreate his jaw dropping potato dish which scored top marks on BBC2’s hit show, The Great British Menu.
The Antrim born Chef was awarded maximum points after plating up his dish coined ‘ordinary to extraordinary’ using five varieties of potatoes.
Since appearing on the show, Mark partnered with a group of potato producers and growers in Northern Ireland, to fight back against negative trends which had shown consumption of the crop was in decline.
The Mighty Spud campaign, a promotional initiative championed by the industry has been running for three years now, battling for the potato’s place as king of the dinner table.
It sought to challenge misconceptions of the potato and educate people on the versatility, convenience and healthy credentials of the vegetable.
Figures released in August 2016 from the UK Agriculture and Horticulture Board (AHDB) show, for the first time in a decade, consumption of the potato increased by 1.4% year-on-year in the UK, which is the equivalent to 18,000 tonnes of spuds annually – a sign the potato’s fortunes are on the turn.
Today’s culinary showcase took place in Deanes Eipic where Mark’s career and love of cooking was ignited.
Using only locally grown Northern Ireland potatoes (Maris Pipers, Peers, Roosters, Charlottes and Purple Magic), guests were treated to a private viewing of Abbott recreating his award winning dish which included 14 elements: butter milk mash potato, potato, truffle and onion airbag, bacon basket, purple potato salad, garlic creamed potato, crispy potato skins, champ croquette, pickle onion puree, baby onion petals, curly chives, nasturtiums, pomme soufflé, bacon jelly and baked potato infusion.
Speaking at the showcase in Deanes Eipic, Mark Abbott said, “I grew up in a very traditional family and farming is in our blood – up until I discovered a love for cooking, farming was all I knew and all I what I wanted to do!
“Whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner, potatoes were on the menu in our house, but what many people don’t realise is every variety of potato has its uses and I am proud that I was able to showcase this during my time on Great British Menu.
“I am honoured to be an ambassador for the Mighty Spud campaign, helping to shout about the amazing produce that comes from here, and prove that the potato is anything but humble and boring!”
Four Recipes by Chef Mark Abbott
DISH 1: Butter Milk Mash
500g Rooster potatoes / Kerr’s Pink
50g butter milk
Scrub potatoes, bake in oven at 220 until tender
Scoop out centres
Pass through a sieve and mix with rest of ingredients
Blend together until smooth
DISH 2: Bacon Potato Salad
6 slices streaky bacon
200g purple salad potatoes
1 bunch of spring onions
50g olive oil
50g Crème fraise (Bourg Fleuri)
Black truffle slices
Wrap bacon around copper pipe. Bake in oven until golden brown at 180. Remove from pipe
Dice purple potatoes small and place with olive oil and seasoning into vac bag. Cook at 100 until tender and chill
Finely chop spring onions, mix with the cool potato and the crème fraise
Spoon potato mixture into bacon circles
Season and add slices of truffle
DISH 3: Creamed Garlic Potato balls with crispy skins
10 large Charlotte potatoes (or Maris Peer)
50g double cream
1 clove garlic
1 spry thyme
Clean and peel the potatoes; keep the skins
Spoon out potatoes into round balls
Bring cream garlic and thyme to the boil. Let infuse
Cook the balls in seasoned cream until tender
Dry the skins of the charlotte potatoes in a cloth
Slice and fry at 150ᵒ in until golden and drain well; season well with salt and finely chop
DISH 4: Champ Croquette
500g Maris Peer potatoes (or Charlotte)
1 bunch spring onion
100g soft flour
100g air bag flour
10ml Chardonnay vinegar
10ml olive oil
Peel and bake potatoes at 180 until tender, and pass through a sieve (keep one aside)
Finely slice spring onions and sweat in a small amount of butter on a low heat; and cool
Dice one potato and mix it with the olive oil and season and steam in vacuum packed bag until tender (10 minutes)
Once all cooked mix together and season
Roll into long rolls. Set and portion into 2cms and roll in flour, egg and airbag flour (pork crackling)
Fry until golden and season